Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
|English Name||Bitchu Matsuyama Castle|
|Alternate Names||Takahashi Castle|
|Founder||Mizunoya Sakyonosuke Katsumune|
|Castle Condition||Original main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||2 levels, 2 stories|
|Artifacts||tenshu, Nijuu Yagura, San no Hirayagura East Wall|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, samurai homes, trenches, stone walls, walls, castle town|
|Access||Bitchu Takahashi Station (Hakubi Line); 1260 taxi|
|Location||Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 48' 32", 133° 37' 20"|
|Visits||November 20, 2010|
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is well know as being the highest altitude castle in Japan at 480 meters. This was viewed as a strategic location was also viewed as valuable territory for a castle. Akiba Shigenobu built the first castle on a nearby mountain in 1240. In 1331 Takahashi Muneyasu built the first Matsuyama Castle on this site. The main keep and yagura you see today were built by Mizunoya in 1683. This was one of very few 2 level main keep, but being on top of the mountain, there was little need to build a high vantage point. After the Mizunoya there were several different lords until Itakura Katsuyoshi in 1744. His descendents continued to rule until the Meiji restoration.
Bitchu Matsuyama is a fairly small castle with only a few buildings, but the great stone walls and views make this 5 Stars. I took the taxi to the parking lot near the castle but walked back down. The mountain is fairly steep so I would recommend walking back rather than up. There are some ruins farther in the mountain but due to heavy rains in 2010, some of the stone walls and paths from just behind the main keep have been badly damaged and you cannot go all the back to the farther ruins.